Dinner 2 hard boiled eggs/ toast + margarine. My stomach was bothering me the last few days so I was eating light.
Sleep – about 6 hours
Breakfast at 5am – cup of instant coffee and toast + margarine. My stomach is pretty ok, but I still have a strange “pulled” feeling in my left thigh.
Suit up: racing hat; montrails; REI crew sox; regular running shorts over nike spandex undershorts; Underarmor T; long sleeve shirt; 4 Gus; half bottle of water; put a strip of athletic tape under each forefoot and put moleskin on the hotspot on the outside of both my feet, and a piece behind my left achiles which has been bothering me.
Prerace: Morning overcast, wet, and maybe in the low 50’s. I felt chilled at the pavilion we waited at and kept on my fleece and long tights till 10 min before start time at 8am. Hung out w/ Nadim talking about the race. Felt thirsty and drank a half bottle of H2O.
The race is nice and low key. At 8am or so there was a few announcements, and then the starter just sort of said, “well I guess I talked long enough, go!” I had lined up in the front, not because I felt I needed to be there but because there was about a 3 foot high barrier across the road where the start line was and I didn’t want jump it or go around it. Most everyone around me took off like jackrabbits.
Hour 1 – From the start to about route 355 was a 12 mile section that was basically all new to me - I wanted to get it over with. The trail was sloppy muddy as expected, but I was deftly hopping puddles and dodging bogs so I stayed pretty clean then entire hour. In retrospect this “fancy” hopping around was just wasting a lot of quick-twitch energy. It wasn’t raining but it remained overcast. Since I had started so far up front, I mainly focused on trying to “hold back” and thus people were passing me pretty consistently. Notwithstanding this “holding back”, I was probably doing around at 8+ to 9 min pace, which in retrospect was way faster than I could manage at the end of the race. At about mile 3 or 4 there was a stream crossing where the only choice was to walk through – hence wet shoes and sox. Passed one water stop w/out stopping.
Hour 2 – Ate a gu pack at 60 minutes. still going strong. Passed the REI water stop at about 1:50 and took water. My stomach is feeling sort of acidic however.
Hour 3 – choked down a gu pack towards end of lake loop. Tasted awful, stomach queasy. Finished lake loop around 2:50. ½ bottle of red Gatorade a lake aid station, and nutter butter cookie. Ran out of lake aide station feeling strong and confident. At 2:59 (due to over-confident striding) I slipped on a boardwalk and fell on my right knee leaving a bruise on the inside. Also smashed my cookie (wahh! sniff, sniff).
Hour 4 – carrying the red GAid was not good because the shaking turned it to red foam. I exchanged that for water at riffleford road aide station. Still feeling ok. Turned left at the road to enter the Seneca Ridge trails to Black Rock - I had not run these trails before (b/c in training I mistakenly took the Seneca Creek trail which goes the same way). I was vaguely aware that taking the SR trails added 3 miles, but I figured the terrain was not significantly different. Not the case. These are MTB trails – which means winding and hilly with lots of little dips and moguls. . . . (which I found are instant calf-cramp-ers)
So at around 3:15 or 3:30 or so, the wheels just came off. I passed another runner on an uphill and suddenly my energy level dropped to nothing. She passed me back, as did 2 other guys who had been behind me from the lake. Started walking, and then dizziness hit and vision sort of fogged. I alternately tried a slow jog and a walk, and passed and was passed by yet another runner having the same issues. Contemplated needing to drop. I still had 2 gus w/ me so I walked for about 5 minutes or so (?), drank nearly the rest of my water and ate a gu. After what felt like 10 min (?) I started to clear, and was able to run again, but then leg cramps hit hard. I walked again, started to eat another gu, and drank more. Somewhere in here I passed an unofficial aid station at a road crossing where 2 girls had some water and ginger snap cookies. I ate one and took some water, which helped. I was pretty dazed (and probably looked pretty bad). Was able to start running again somewhere before Black Rock Mill. When I got there I expected another station but there was only some unofficial aid set up by spectators w/ some water and strawberries. I gratefully took some of both.
Hour 5 - From BRM to Rt 28 I was running again – yay! The aid station at rt 28 was a major boost. Now I could really contemplate finishing. I ate some of the famous Pringles here, but could only swallow them w/ water. Grabbed a spare hammer gel to carry just in case. Right after rt 28, the trail was the muddiest of the entire race, w/ several wide bogs that were over ankle deep in gray mud the consistency of soft ice cream. noticed the sun was coming out here and there. Had another brief bonk, but far less severe than the first. Ate ½ of the hammer gel and was ok. Things were under control but I must have still been on the edge – I remember ducking once because I thought I saw a monkey swinging in a tree up ahead. . . . At the last aid station at Berryville road/stream crossing, drank more GAid, and ate some pretzels which were hard to get down. Feeling pretty good again. Walked up the steep hill after the stream, then pretty much ran the rest of the way interspersed with some brief bouts of leg cramping. Finished at 5:56:02 (by my watch) for 33.65 miles (by Nadim’s GPS).